Luke 13:10-17 – Jesus Healing the Woman with the Curvature of the Spine.
This is an interesting Gospel reading. Jesus heals a woman who has a curvature of the spine on the Sabbath in the synagogue. When one reads this passage, it is obvious that the woman did not ask to be healed. Jesus, who was apparently participating in the synagogue as a Rabbi on the Sabbath, singled her out when he saw her and healed her. When the ruler of the synagogue became indignant that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, Jesus states that even animals were unbound and led to a life-giving water source by their masters on the Sabbath. They are in fact released from their bondage on the Sabbath and provided with life-giving water! The intent of the Lord’s action to release this woman from the bondage of her infirmity is a clear foreshadowing of the Lord’s own work to release His people from the bondage of sin and death and to lead them to salvation.
It is also interesting to note the placement of this Gospel reading. This Gospel reading is between the reading regarding the unfruitful fig tree (13:6-9) and the reading concerning the growth of mustard seed (13:18-19). The reading regarding the unfruitful fig tree tells that the vineyard keeper was willing to take the time to nurture and fertilize the non-producing fig tree so it would produce fruit and not be chopped down. Then this story of the miracle of the healing of the woman with the curvature of the spine follows as a witness of the Kingdom of God before the temple servers. This story of the woman is, in effect, the nurturing and fertilization of the unfruitful fig tree — that is, the teaching and witness to those who did not know the true faith. The Gospel then follows with the story of the mustard seed, Luke 13:18-19, which is the smallest seed that grows into the biggest tree. The smallest seed obviously representing the least amount of faith that grows into the biggest tree — the greatest belief of all – The Orthodox Christian Faith.
References: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, InterVarsity Press; Lawrence R. Farley, The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Conciliar Press; Paul Nadim Tarazi, The New Testament, Luke and Acts, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, NKJV